Galle (115km from Colombo), capital of southern province, was the headquarters of the Dutch colonial administration in Sri Lanka’s coastal provinces from the mid 17thto the end of the 18th century. Among mementos Of its Dutch past are a massive well preserved 17 th c. fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), bastions, and ramparts, a church (also17th c.)many other period buildings and Dutch street names. Among Dutch monuments in the commercial capital Colombo are the well preserved Wolvendaal church and Dutch hospital.
Sri Lanka’s hill capital kandy (115km from Colombo),was the last capital and stronghold of its independent kingdom which resisted European colonialism from the latter half of the 16th c.until 1815. Today Kandy is a sanctuary of the traditional culture it preserved for many centuries.
The hill capital of Sri Lanka is surrounded by Hantana & Hunnasgiri hills, the Mahaweli River and the well-grown flora with a beautiful view of greenery. The Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic – one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka for Buddhists. In the heart of Kandy is the lake, constructed by Sri Wickrama Rajasingha, the last Kandyan King.
Among the succession of capital that followed the abandonment of polonnaruwa due to invasion was the 13th c. rock fortress citadel of Yapahuwa (146km from Colombo) in the north western plains. Its many intriguing remains include walls, moats, ponds, audience hall and place complex. Yapahuwa’s crowning glory is its majestic ornamental strairway of dressed stone, adorned with fine sculptures of lions musicians dancers and goddesses.
Polonnaruwa (218km from Colombo) became established as the capital in the 11th c. when Anuradhapura was abandoned due to foreign invasion. A well planned medieval city detendent by enclosing walls (around 5 km of which still remain). The city reached a dazzling but pitifully brief zenith in the 12th century and though ravaged by invasion in the centuries following, much evidence remains of the old grandeur and glory. The ruins of the ancient city stand on the east shore of a large artificial lake, the Topa Wewa Lake, or Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama), created by King Parakramabahu I (1153-86), whose reign was Polonnaruwa’s golden age. Within a rectangle of city walls stand palace buildings and clusters of dozens of dagobas, temples and various other religious buildings. A scattering of other historic buildings can be found to the north of the main complex, outside the city walls and close to the main road to Habarana and Dambulla.
Mihintale (13km east of Anuradhapura),is Sri Lanka’s 3rd c.B.C. Cdradel of Buddhism in Sri Lanka a hill top cluster of stone structure s reached by an ancient solid granite stairway of 1840 steps. The historic site where Arahath Mahinda, son of emperor Asoka of India preached Buddhism to Sri Lanka’s king Devanampiyathissa, its highlights include shrines such as the Kantaka Cetiya with lavishly carved frontal alters.
Ancient glory dazzles at Sigiriya (166 km from Colombo ),stupendous 5th c. A.D rock fortress citadel of a fugitive king. Where history merges with melodrama. Some theories affirm that Sigiriya was a Mahayana Buddhist monastery ,or that it was both citadel and hermitage at differing times. While Sigiriya keeps some of its secrets, visitors have much else to fill them with wonder. The 10ft (3 meter) high Mirror wall still glistens with its 5th c. high gloss and the majestic Lions paw picturesquely guards the stairway to the place on the summit. A gallery of frescoes of shapely, be-jewelled maidens still glows with vibrant colour and the water gardens (a UNESCO World Heritage site), are unequalled any where on earth.Broad,3 km – long granite-lined moats, earth ramparts, stone and brick walls and boulder – catapults defended the citadel, even if only for a brief (and shining) 18 years
Anuradhapura (203 Km from Colombo) Sri Lanka’s first historical capital founded around the 5th c B.C.gives a fascinating glimpse of a stately, well laid- out pre-Christian metropolis of gigantic Buddhist shrines and monasteries, splendid palaces, pavilions and parks, bathing ponds and vast reservoirs, many of them masterpieces of architecture , art sculpture and engineering .
Anuradhapura offers a host of memorable sightseeing highlights. The Thuparama dagaba which enshrines a collar-bone relic of the Buddha, is encircled by 3rdc. c.B.C.stone columns. The Isurumuniya rock temple is a treasure trove of 3rd to 7thc.B.C.bas-relief sculpture- the lovers the Horseman and a group of elephants frisking in water.
Nuwara Eliya has a cool sparkling climate with the temperature changing around 13deg Nuwara Eliya is city where the best tea in the world is produced. You will be told all about the process of manufacturing tea. You can also see how tea is graded. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. Nuwara Eliya is really attractive and it goes through mountains ,tunnels plantations
Rock Temple of Dambulla
Twelve miles from Sigiriya is Dambulla, a vast isolated rock mass 500 ft. high and a mile round the base. The Main attraction of Dambulla is a rock temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters. The largest antique painted surface in the World (UNESCO-World Heritage site) 149Km from Colombo and 16Km west of Sigiriya
Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. it is 188 miles from Colombo along the south costal high way situated to the east of Kirinda. It is 500 square – miles expanse of forest Yala is the most popular park with a vast array of animals including deer, Peacock, elephant, wild buffalo and the lucky visitors may get to see a leopard or bear. There are self- catering bungalows in the park, which can be used, but bookings must be made well in advance for availability. Camping can also be organized.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
This orphanage is the home for about 60 elephants, out of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life officials . The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.
Udawaiawa National park
The Udawalawe National Park is the only place in the world where an elephant sighting is guaranteed on every game drive. It is an excellent place to observe elephant behaviour and to get up close and personal with these amazing animals in herds of about 50 to 100 elephants being sighted regularly. There are also 183 species of birds and 45 species of mammals recorded at Udawalawe
Handicrafts in destinations
Sri lanka has a rich varied heritage of traditional art and crafts The products of age old techniques, tools of natural, indigenous raw materials. Sri lanka ‘s handicrafts are fashioned in the cottages of craftsmen and women or in rural crafts centers and incorporate a legacy of centuries of inbred skill.
The beaches and seas of paradise
A tropical island of legendary beauty. Sri Lanka is encircled by sun-lit surf of the Indian Ocean. Multi-coloured corals. sheltered bays. serene lagoons and off-shore islands enhance the beaches. offering resorts of enchanting beauty and interest for perfect vacations.
Benthota is 62 km away from Colombo in Galle district. The beaches of Benthots offer plenty of water sports activities such as water-skiing and windsurfing. The best time for visiting Bentota is during October and April.
Hikkaduwa Beach100 km away from Colombo, Hikkaduwa is treated as one of the most popular beach in Sri Lanka with plenty of Hotels, restaurants and bars.You can spend time doing snorkeling ,surfing or relaxing in the beach.
Arugam bay beach
Mount Lavinia Beach